Reviews for Moonshot : The Flight of Apollo 11

Booklist Reviews 2009 February #2
*Starred Review* Forty years after NASA s Apollo 11 mission first landed astronauts on the moon, this striking nonfiction picture book takes young readers along for the ride. The moon shines down on Earth, where three men don spacesuits, climb into Columbia, and wait for liftoff. On a nearby beach, people gather to watch the rocket blast the astronauts into space. The astronauts fly to the moon, circle it, land on it, walk on its surface, and see "the good and lonely Earth, glowing in the sky." After flying back to the orbiter, they return to Earth and splash down, "home at last." An appended note discusses the mission in greater detail. Written with quiet dignity and a minimum of fuss, the main text is beautifully illustrated with line-and-wash artwork that provides human interest, technological details, and some visually stunning scenes. The book s large format offers plenty of scope for double-page illustrations, and Floca makes the most of it, using the sequential nature of picture books to set up the more dramatic scenes and give them human context. The moving image of Earth seen from the moon, for instance, is preceded by a picture of a lone astronaut looking up. A handsome, intelligent book with a jacket that s well-nigh irresistible. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #3
This fortieth anniversary year of the moon landing will likely see many books published on the topic; Floca's visually sublime picture book will rise above most. Clearly he has researched his subject thoroughly, as indicated by the opening timeline and diagram on one set of end pages, the source notes opposite the title page, and the extended discussion on the closing end pages. Yet Floca distills all of his gathered knowledge into a concise text, selecting the exact details to transform science into relatable experience: "Here below / there are three men / who close themselves / in special clothes, / who-click-lock hands / in heavy gloves, / who-click-lock heads / in large, round helmets." Throughout the book Floca engages the reader both with his spare lyricism and with his watercolor and ink pictures. He uses the format to perfection, with large pictures to communicate size, power, and perspective; sequenced panels to show steps unfolding; and small pictures to catch particular moments. The artistry in book design and illustration is demonstrated by such stunning double-page spreads as the one containing the word liftoff, which shows just the bottom of the immense rocket as it begins to rise. Libraries will be dismayed by endpapers filled with important information, some of which may get covered up; but the heart of the book is complete and intact within, allowing children to be drawn into the wonder of the first moonwalk. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 March #2
A dizzying, masterful command of visual pacing combines with an acute sense of verbal rhythms to provide a glorious account of the Apollo 11 mission, one that stands as the must-buy in this crowded lunar season. Each page turn presents a surprise: A spread with six horizontal panels showing rocket, bystanders and astronauts during countdown yields to a close-up of the thrusters firing at liftoff and then to a perfectly sublime long shot that positions a tiny Saturn V rocket pulling away from the launch pad above a serenely massive Earth, its curve clearly visible in the horizon of the blue Atlantic--"ROAR." Floca's language, in one of his longer texts, is equally gorgeous: "And when the Earth / has rolled beneath / and rolled behind / and let the astronauts go, / the Saturn's last stage opens wide..." Humor lightly applied provides the necessary grounding touch to this larger-than-human endeavor without ever taking away its sense of moment. The front endpapers give detail-loving readers diagrams and a pictorial chronology; the back endpapers contain a brief history of NASA's lunar program. Breathtaking, thrilling and perfect. (Informational picture book. 7-12) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 May #1

Floca's rendition of Apollo 11's journey to the moon is as poetic as it is historically resonant. The first page offers a quiet meditation: "High above/ there is the Moon,/ cold and quiet,/ no air, no life,/ but glowing in the sky," followed by the astronauts preparing for the voyage and then a dramatic liftoff ("The rocket is released!"). Once in space, the lunar module, Eagle--"a stranger ship, more bug than bird,/ a black and gold and folded spider"--locks onto the Columbia. The subdued illustrations hold an undercurrent of emotion (as a family hears the report that the Eagle has landed safely, the father wipes his eyes with awe and relief). A stirring depiction of a momentous event. Ages 4-7. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 March

Gr 2-5--Large in trim size as well as topic, this stirring account retraces Apollo 11's historic mission in brief but precise detail, and also brilliantly captures the mighty scope and drama of the achievement. Rendered in delicate lines and subtly modulated watercolors, the eye-filling illustrations allow viewers to follow the three astronauts as they lumber aboard their spacecraft for the blastoff and ensuing weeklong journey ("…there's no fresh air outside the window;/after a week this small home will not smell so good./This is not why anyone/wants to be an astronaut"). They split up so that two can make their famous sortie, and then reunite for the return to "the good and lonely Earth,/glowing in the sky." Floca enhances his brief, poetic main text with an opening spread that illustrates each component of Apollo 11, and a lucid closing summary of the entire Apollo program that, among other enlightening facts, includes a comment from Neil Armstrong about what he said versus what he meant to say when he stepped onto the lunar surface. Consider this commemoration of the first Moon landing's 40th anniversary as a spectacular alternative for younger readers to Catherine Thimmesh's Team Moon (Houghton, 2006).--John Peters, New York Public Library

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